Rajasthan, or the land of the kings, is a hotspot on India’s tourism map, and not without reason. The scantly populated state, the largest in the country in area, has a rich history spanning across Rajput Kings, Mughal invasions, brave warriors, pious saints, skilled artisans, and some of the toughest, yet colourful people on the planet. The land known for its valour, hospitality, and its rich culture is also recognized worldwide for its grand architectural marvels. Rajasthan, with its enormous forts, grand palaces, intricately carved temples and beautiful lakes and gardens offers unparalleled options to the tourists seeking something exotic and special. In addition to its rich history, the state is also home to the largest desert in the country, in the Thar, and also has some of the best wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and tiger reserves in India. All that, combined with the state’s very rich culinary spread, makes it one of the most desirable regions to travel to in the country. So for those of you who wish to ride to Rajasthan, here’s an itinerary that’ll help you extract the most of your time in the state. Check out this 12-day motorcycle ride itinerary to Rajasthan, which gives you a broad idea about the cities to cover, approximate ride time, things to do and some sense about what you should prioritize. You can always tweak it to suit your requirements.
Rajasthan is surrounded by the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Except if you’re travelling from down south by road, that is entering Rajasthan from Gujarat; Jaipur is the correct city as the starting point for your travel itinerary. For those entering Rajasthan from Gujarat, Udaipur is more appropriate city as the starting point. This ride itinerary takes Jaipur as the starting point, as that’s where a wide majority of people will start their journey from.
Day 1 and 2 – Jaipur
The capital city of Rajasthan is a vibrant tier-2 town with a great blend of history, culture and modernity. Spread in a radius of around 25 km the city’s northern bounds comprise of the walled, old city where all the walls are painted in pink, and that’s why Jaipur is also known as the ‘Pink City’.
Being in Jaipur you cannot miss walking through the old bazaars comprising of Badi Chaupad, Chhoti Chaupad, Jauhree Bazaar (one of the best known jewellery markets in the world) and Tripolia Bazaar. Walking through all these areas, you’ll get to see a myriad of handicraft items while also being able to understand the city’s heritage and way of life more closely. The majestic Amer Fort, along with Nahargarh and Jaigarh forts should be on the top of your list for sightseeing. Within the walled city, Hawa Mahal, City Palace and the medieval space observatory namely Jantar Mantar are absolutely must-see. Jaipur is the largest metropolitan city in Rajasthan, and offers you your best shot at clubbing and nightlife, so do not miss out on partying here, as the other cities are relatively small, more laid back and won’t offer much in terms of nightlife.
Day 3 Jaipur – Ajmer | Distance 120 km
Leaving early from Jaipur and riding at a fast clip can get you to Ajmer in about two hours. You’ll have the entire day to yourself to explore the little town. Do not miss visiting the world famous dargah of Khwaaja Moinuddin Chisti and get a truly spiritual experience. Other attractions in the city are the Anna Sagar Lake, which has the beautiful Barah Daree gardens on its side. You also have Adhaai Din Ka Jhopdaa and Taragarh Fort which houses a dargah and provides a vantage point to get a panoramic view of the city.
What you should try and do, however, is wrap up your sightseeing within the city by late afternoon or early evening and leave for Pushkar – a pilgrimage about 15 km from Ajmer, which you can reach in about half an hour on a motorcycle. The Pushkar Lake, with its many ghats and old-worldly buildings surrounding it is a sight to behold. Visit the Brahma Temple, walk around the town to soak in its unique spiritual air and if you get a chance, take a camelback ride as well.
Return to Ajmer by night to get a good night’s sleep and hit the road again in the morning
Day 4 Ajmer – Jodhpur | Distance 210 km
The key to getting more time on a trip is to start early and book your stay in advance, so try and make all your bookings in advance to save time. The distance between Ajmer and Jodhpur is a little over 200 km, but the highway is in a decent shape, and you can cover the distance in 3 to 4 hours depending on your bike and ability.
Jodhpur is steeped in rich Rajasthani culture and has a laid back, old-worldly charm to it. Medieval architecture is noticeable in abundance in every part of the old city, and you can see the fantastic Mehrangarh fort towering above the city’s skyline from most parts of the city. This fort should top your list of things to do – it’s a beautiful fort-cum-palace, has a museum inside, is very well maintained and offers a fantastic view of the city. The city of Jodhpur, also known as the Sun City, looks splendid in its bluish white hues when viewed from the ramparts of the Mehrangarh Fort.
One should also visit the Ummed Bhavan Palace, known to be one of the grandest heritage hotels in India. Another place to visit is the Jaswant Thada Cenotaph, which serves as the cremation ground for the royal family of Marwar. The brilliant carvings on the mausoleum, along with the polished marble sheets look marvellous, making it a must-visit spot for those who have a thing for architecture.
The nature lovers among you can visit the Balsamand or Kaylana lakes which are situated very close to the city.
Day 5 and 6 Jodhpur – Jaisalmer | Distance 280 km
Now you may wish to spend some more time in Jodhpur this morning, or leave early to see some attractions en route to Jaisalmer, the choice is yours.
Immediately as you leave Jodhpur, you can spend some time exploring the ancient town of Mandore, which was the capital of Marwari kings before they moved to Mehrangarh. Fantastic architecture with intricate carvings on temples and other royal buildings here would leave you spellbound.
Moving further, about 65 kilometres towards Jaisalmer, you have a little town namely Osiyan, which is known for its dal pakodas. In addition to sampling the delicacy, one should spare some time observing the finely carved temples in this town. The erotic sculptures in the remains of some of the temples have earned Osiyan the recognition of “Khajuraho of Rajasthan”
There’s also the small village of Khinchan about 150 km from Jodhpur towards Jaisalmer, which is known the world over for thousands of migratory birds which flock to its surrounding lakes in winters. Then there’s the famous temple of Ramdevra before Jaisalmer, where you’ll see Hindu and Muslim pilgrims visiting with equal piety.
For the entire route between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, the road is flanked by arid desert. It’s a very unique landscape which you probably wouldn’t have seen or experienced before. With the well laid out tar, and arrow straight roads, riding between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer is an experience which every biker needs to have at least once in his lifetime.
If you reach Jaisalmer at a decent time, use the evening time (if you have any left) to ride around the little town and soak in its unique, colourful, traditional taste.
Jaisalmer, also known as the Golden City is the very epitome of Rajasthan’s desert lifestyle. So if you want to experience the Thar and its real people, this city is your best shot. The Jaisalmer Fort is unique owing to the fact that there are people actually living inside it. About one fourth of the old city’s population resides in it. There’ no entry charge, and it’s lined by shops and cafes. It’s a unique experience and one should not miss it.
To experience the sand dunes of Rajasthan, you must visit Sam Dunes, a place about 35 km away from Jaisalmer. Although the tours to the spot are commercialized, it still manages to offer a very rustic experience and is every bit worth the visit. A camel safari on the sand dunes is an experience you must have if you’re not too scared of riding an animal’s back. You should leave for the dunes early afternoon, and be back by night.
Other attractions within the city include Bada Bagh, Tanot Mata Temple and Gadi Sagar Lake. Close to Jaisalmer you also have the Longewala War memorial and Jaisalmer War Meuseum. Tours for Camel Safaris are organized by a variety of operators, and you can also visit the Desert National Park.
Day 7 and 8 Jaisalmer -Mount Abu | Distance 450 km
This is the longest single day ride of the itinerary. The entire journey should take at least 7-8 hours, and thus, you should allocate one full day to it. Mount Abu is the only proper hill station of Rajasthan and offers a very different experience as compared to the rest of the cities.
Nakki Lake is the most popular tourist attraction in Mount Abu, and is definitely worth visiting. Guru Shikhar, which is supposed to be the highest peak in the entire Aravali Mountain Range is another popular tourist destination, and should be visited for its unique panoramic views. The Dilwara Jain Temples are an architectural marvel and their sheer scale as well intricacy of carvings makes one appreciate the stupendous artisanship of the local folk. In addition, Mount Abu also offers a ton of activities for the adventure enthusiasts in the form of trekking, mountain climbing, wildlife safaris and camping.
Day 9 and 10 Mount Abu to Udaipur | Distance 160 km
Your next stop from Mount Abu is Udaipur, or the City of Lakes, which is known as one of the most exotic tourist destinations in India. The distance by road is about 160 km, and you should not take more than 3-4 hours reaching Udaipur. Start early, so you reach Udaipur before noon and keep two days for exploring this beautiful city. With its beautiful palaces, gardens and lakes surrounded by old-style architecture and nice weather, this place has the charm to awaken the romantic in you. It’s not without reason that they call it the Venice of the East.
The City Palace should be high on your priority to visit, as it’s a grand structure with a fabulous museum inside. The lakes that have earned Udaipur its title are Pichhola Lake, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udaisagar Lake, Doodh Talai, Swaroop Sagar and Dhebar Lake. Of these, the beautiful Pichhola Lake forms the heart of the city, and has the world Famous Taj Lake Palace Hotel sitting right in the middle of it. The medieval structures surrounding the lake, along with the modern hotels which duly comply with the traditional architectural ethos, make every view around the lake special. Any of the several rooftop restaurants surrounding the lake, especially in the evening would give you an experience that you’d never forget.
Of the many things you can see and do in Udaipur, visiting Monsoon Palace, Ranakpur Temple, Haldi Ghati, and Kumbhal Garh Fort should be very high on your list. Plan your trip around these spots and use your spare some time for the Heritage Walk, which makes you walk around the old city and absorb the local lifestyle which is still very much steeped in its Rajputi heritage.
Day 11 Udaipur-Ranthambore | Distance 206 km
Your focus for this part of the journey should be to visit the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve – one of the best tiger reserves in the country. If you leave from Udaipur early, you’ll reach Ranthambore in three to four hours and will have a large part of the day left to get yourself a place on one of the open buses or jeeps for a Jungle Safari. Tiger spotting in this national park is relatively easy, and you’ll get to see a whole bunch of other animals too.
Day 12 Ranthambore – Jaipur | Distance 166 km
For the last day, you may wish to spend some more time making another trip to the national park as there are several different sections to explore. Depending on your onward journey plan, you may start early or relatively later to reach Jaipur.
To conclude, being India’s largest state by area, and with its rich heritage, Rajasthan has a tremendous lot to offer to the discerning tourist. It’s beyond the scope of any itinerary to list all of its marvels. However, if it’s your first ride to Rajasthan we’re sure this itinerary will help you extract the maximum from your limited time. Do share this piece with your friends who you think would benefit from it, and let us know your thoughts and questions through the comments section below.